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Old 02-02-2013, 23:00   #1
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Florida Coastal Sailing

I am interested in sailing the coastal waters of Florida I currently have a Catalina 30 that I have been sailing on the Great lakes for the past two summers .My goal is to at some point buy a sail boat in Florida and do some coastal sailing. Will I find it much different ie; weather currents environment? How do I I best prepare myself. How do I will my skills stand up?
Your feed back is appreciated
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Old 02-02-2013, 23:23   #2
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Re: Florida coastal sailing

If you are on the Gulf side or Keys there is a lot of shallow water so good navigation gear is imperative until you know the area. We almost got into trouble twice in the cuts going in and out to the Bay. Currents can be quite high. Besides learning your charts also be aware of tide information....is it going in, out or slack.

I really like the free OpenCPN and the free NOAA charts for that as while navigating with the chart you can also bring up a window ....



...or windows that display the current and future tidal and current information from stations along the coast. The chart above is down in the Keys near Marathon and the smaller window is showing the tidal current there in knots. Working with the tides and currents can make a trip easier and more enjoyable.

We like it so much down there that we bought a second boat to keep down there. Now if we could only get it back in the water .

You might want to take a look at our trips down there to get some idea of what it is like. They were the first time we had ever been in salt water and we have only been sailing for a few years....

Macgregor Trips-1 Index

Good luck and you should like it,

Sum
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:09   #3
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Sorry about the the grammar
Thanks for the input .
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:28   #4
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Re: Florida Coastal Sailing

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Minnow99.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:33   #5
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Re: Florida Coastal Sailing

A large bit of Florida boating is the ICW so you'll need a good chartbook and get used to going through opening bridges that are on a schedule. There is good sailing in the Keys, with shallow water and stuff like coral to watch out for. In fact, just about the whole state is shallow. It means you can almost always drop the hook if you need to sort something out. The southwest coast has some good sailing too. The main thing you will need to do is set up sun protection for your cockpit, if you don't already have it--just about mandatory in Florida.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:51   #6
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Re: Florida Coastal Sailing

Pick your base carefully. Especially if you intend to day sail. I only know the east coast and the best spot is somewhere around Biscayne Bay. Also the most expensive for keeping a boat. As you go north from there it's mostly motor to the inlet.(more often than not, an hour each way) to get to the ocean for sailing. There are some spots on the Indian River where you can sail, but it's only short stretches and a shallow draft is preferable.

It'll usually be warmer than Great Lakes Sailing. That's about the difference. And a lot more traffic, mostly center console fishing boats.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:34   #7
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Re: Florida Coastal Sailing

You'll find some great and varied sailing in Florida. You can divide the state into four distinct areas, each with its own appeal and drawbacks.

1). Down the east coast from Jacksonville to Miami it's ICW or offshore and the issue is you can't pop in from offshore just anywhere or get off the ICW on a whim.

2).The Keys are a place unto themselves and issues include shallow waters as noted. The up side is great weather and beautiful clear waters. Think foreign with no passport required.

3).The west coast is my personal favorite and the southern bit contains Ft. Myers up to Tarpon Springs but not much heading north from Tarpon until Carabelle and Apalachicola in the panhandle. That jump requires a 24 hour offshore passage that can get harry if you don't watch the weather.

4). The panhandle lacks the warmer year round weather of southern Florida, but does have some great sailing and large bays around Apalachicola, Port St. Joe, Panama City, Destin and Pensacola. Yet we sail the panhandle year round and love it.

Expect to encounter some rules you may not be familiar with up north related to anchorages and pumpout, but no big deal. You'll also learn to deal with bascule bridges on the ICW as noted - again no biggie.

There is a lot of shallow water throughout the state so good charts or chartplotter and sound navigation skills are a must.

Also note that Florida is the bullseye of the hurricane target from June to October, so constant weather monitoring is crucial in those months.

My son owns a Catalina 30 and it's a great boat for Florida. Come on down and I'm sure you'll love it.
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Old 03-02-2013, 20:43   #8
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I'm thinking Tampa Sarasota area and then heading south beginning next February. I'm look to make this a family friendly endeavour as I have children so I will be looking for good family friendly marinas where the kids can stretch thier legs and keep entertained. We holiday a lot in Florida so not do it sailing I'm thinking.
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Old 03-02-2013, 21:39   #9
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Re: Florida Coastal Sailing

thank you Sumner for you note in this thread re. OpenCPN.....

I've been using the proprietary software Chart Navigator for several yrs. and (being a lover of open source software) I installed OpenCPN ... after using it for a few hrs , it seems more seamless than Chart Navigator....

Most of us who use a PC for navigation should look into it....Frank
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Old 03-02-2013, 22:57   #10
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Re: Florida Coastal Sailing

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Originally Posted by minnow99 View Post
I'm thinking Tampa Sarasota area and then heading south beginning next February....
You mentioned at the beginning of the thread about possibly buying a boat in FL. Is that still the case or are you thinking of having your Catalina trucked down? If so we could offer some suggestions on where to possibly put her in,

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Old 04-02-2013, 00:42   #11
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Yes I am thinking of buying there, taking a leave from work and spending several months cruising. After the several months are up I would find a Marina to keep the boat at and just fly down now and then for a vacation and sail her.
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:36   #12
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Re: Florida Coastal Sailing

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Originally Posted by minnow99 View Post
Yes I am thinking of buying there, taking a leave from work and spending several months cruising. After the several months are up I would find a Marina to keep the boat at and just fly down now and then for a vacation and sail her.

You might have the sequence wrong. Keep it in a marina first until you get the bugs (problems, not Florida's famous palmetto bugs) out of the boat. To get anything done, it works a lot better if you're in a marina. Shipping parts, etc. After the boat is ready you can go cruising and when you come back look for a spot to store the boat.
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:15   #13
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Re: Florida Coastal Sailing

Lots of great affordable marinas in FL, The areas you asre talking about are great for sailing cruising. The West coast has lots of fun places to visit, I'd look for a Shoal draft or under 4.5' my own preference, to avoid bumping otherwise just be cautious around shoal areas, islands etc. Many great and easy areas to go from ICW to open water. Lots of support, tides arent bad, Gulf can be a bit choppy at times but not bad. Get a cruising guide and check it out!
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Old 30-09-2013, 21:02   #14
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Quote:
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You might have the sequence wrong. Keep it in a marina first until you get the bugs (problems, not Florida's famous palmetto bugs) out of the boat. To get anything done, it works a lot better if you're in a marina. Shipping parts, etc. After the boat is ready you can go cruising and when you come back look for a spot to store the boat.
I will be sailing in Febreaury in Southwest Florida, Fort Myers. . Could you send me any tips?
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Old 02-10-2013, 20:16   #15
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I will be sailing in Febreaury in Southwest Florida, Fort Myers. . Could you send me any tips?
Local knowledge is important. Talk to people. They'll help you out. It's beautiful and not that challenging.
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